The Economy A new world order
It’s all COVID-19 in the economy this week, and the news is, of course, not good. According to SARS, 20,000 people were retrenched in April, and this resulted in an under-recovery of R9bn in taxes for the month. With numbers like that, they are predicting R285bn less in taxes collected for the year. SARS are concerned that the pandemic will cause not just a downward trend in economic activity during the course of the illness, but a loss in economic capacity as businesses close, never to re-open. In Johannesburg in the meantime, a city that 19,000 dollar millionaires call home, mayor Geoff Makhubo has announced that one million people – about 300,000 households – already require food assistance. This in a context of where 45% of the city’s 5.5 million souls already lived in poverty and 20% were food insecure. Across the continent, while Africa has been spared the worst effects of the pandemic per se, for reasons (like the possible effects of the BCG vaccine) that are still under investigation, the economic fallout is potentially devastating, with growth predicted to decline -2.1% to -5.1% this year, and the AU estimating that 20 million people could lose their jobs.
Comment: A new economic order is not necessary or inevitable; it is already here. Africa needs to have a say in how it shakes out, and in the words of Mcebisi Jonas, “to imagine a world in which we all have a place at the table.”